By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The financial details have been released for a pair of Patriots free agency moves, thanks to the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
For outside linebacker Shilique Calhoun, it’s a one-year deal for $1.5 million with a $250,000 signing bonus. The second number gives Calhoun a decent chance to make the 53-man roster in 2020. Calhoun was on the active roster for a career-high 15 games in 2019 but played just 266 defensive snaps (26.4 percent), logging three quarterback hits. Calhoun was on track to become an unrestricted free agent.
As for former fullback Dan Vitale, formerly of the Packers, it’s a one-year deal with a base value of $1.3 million and a $100,000 signing bonus. He can earn up to $1.5 million with playing time incentives.
Vitale will provide legitimate competition with longtime Patriots fullback James Develin, who is set for $1.275 million in salary and bonuses. Vitale is five years younger than Develin and is in line to earn slightly more money. It’s likely that this competition, however, comes down to pure performance. Develin is going to have to be at his best to beat out Vitale for the lead fullback job, as he returns from a neck injury that ended his 2019 season early. The two are different kinds of players, so there could be room for both. But Vitale should push Develin for snaps.
Although the quarterback position is obviously the biggest roster question to be answered, the Patriots are quietly making a slew of cost-effective moves that should improve their roster in other areas. All-Pro safety/special teamer Adrian Phillips, linebacker Brandon Copeland, and defensive tackle Beau Allen are two signings that should deliver strong value. Calhoun and Vitale also have good chances to outperform their contracts.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.